The U.S. Grand Prix may have been winding down Saturday afternoon, but there was no shortage of excitement in the freeski slopestyle finals.
Thirty-year-old Breckenridge local Keri Herman landed a first run score of 87.0 that was untouched by the runs that followed, putting her not only at the top of the podium but also at the top of the World Cup standings, with two World Cup victories in a row. All this after finishing last in December's Dew Tour.
"Two out of two! Say something, America!" Herman exclaimed before adding, "I'm really stoked. I got all my grabs solid, landings solid. Being strong out there is key. I kept it smooth and I just can't believe it. There's such good competition right now. Fifty girls were competing. To come out on top is just amazing. To come out so well ... it's just an honor to be on top. These girls are the best."
Canada's Dara Howell and Australia's Anna Segel rounded out the podium with 85.8 and 85.0 respectively.
And as all eyes turned to the men's field, several unfinished runs left a handful of competitors vying for podium position.
It looked to be all set, with Australia's Russell Henshaw (92.2), Canada's Alex Beaulieu-Marchand (90.4) and Breckenridge's own Bobby Brown (89.4) comprising the standings - until Great Britain's James Woods pointed his skis down course. Stomping his run, Woods earned a favorable 93.4 to upset the standings and put himself on top, bumping everyone down a notch.
"I'm very excited. I'm obviously very proud of myself. I'm proud of everyone else in this competition ... Everyone skied out of their minds. I can't believe it," Woods said. "I'm very exhilarated. I'm ecstatic. I knew I needed to step up my game, and not only step up but improve because I did actually mess up my first run. There was definitely nerves involved and a nice adrenaline release when I made it."
Woods is excited to be on track for the Olympics, in which slopestyle will debut for both snowboarders and freeskiers. If he heads to Sochi, Russia, it will be significant to the athlete and his country.
For Bobby Brown, who was bumped off the podium by Woods' win, it's only one competition.
"This is a good spot. This is my first contest back in seven months. I broke my ankle this summer. I feel pretty confident going into the rest of the season," Brown said.